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PHIL 236
Contemporary Ethical Theory Fall 2020
Division II Writing Skills

Class Details

This course will examine central questions in normative ethics, including the following: Which features of actions are morally important and why (e.g., their motive, their intrinsic nature, or their consequences)? Which characteristics of persons give them moral status? How should moral equality be understood, and what is its foundation? When should we give morality priority over personal commitments and relationships, and why? What makes an individual’s life go well? Are we capable of disinterested altruism, or are we motivated solely by self-interest? By which methods should we pursue these questions? We will examine these and related issues by looking in depth at contemporary defenses of consequentialist, deontological, and contractualist theories.
The Class: Format: tutorial; This tutorial will meet remotely by Zoom on a fixed weekly schedule agreed upon by the instructor and participants.
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 2536
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Six tutorial papers (5-6 pages in length) and six critiques (2-3 pages in length).
Prerequisites: at least one PHIL course or permission of instructor
Enrollment Preferences: Current and prospective philosophy majors
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
WS Notes: Students will write a tutorial paper (5-6 pages in length) every other week, and a peer critique (2-3 pages in length) in alternating weeks, spaced evenly throughout the semester. The instructor will provide timely comments on writing skills, with suggestions for improvement.

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